Non-Disclosing Groups, on Both Sides of Battle Over Next Supreme Court Nominee, Hit Facebook with Ads

NYT:

Judicial Crisis Network, an organization that promotes conservative judicial nominees, announced last week that it would spend more than $1 million to support Mr. Trump’s nominee. So far, the group has spent as much as $140,000 on a series of nearly two dozen Facebook ads. Many of the Facebook ads are targeted at users in North Dakota, Indiana and West Virginia, all red states with vulnerable Democratic senators who are up for re-election this year….

Demand Justice, an organization formed this year by veterans of the Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama campaigns, began running Facebook ads on Monday urging voters to “stop Trump’s SCOTUS takeover.” The group, which has said it plans to raise $10 million this year, has also run ads opposing Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett and Amul Thapar, three judges who are reported to be on Mr. Trump’s shortlist for the Supreme Court. The candidate-specific ads began running before Justice Kennedy announced his retirement and were targeted at an audience that included users in California and New York, two Democratic strongholds, but also in Florida, a swing state.

These groups, which are classified as 501(c)(4) advocacy groups, are not required to identify their donors or disclose much of their spending. But new Facebook ad policies are for the first time giving a glimpse of how money from these organizations flows through social media….

A Facebook spokeswomen, Elisabeth Diana, said that the company did not require political groups to identify their donors, and that it believed the Federal Election Commission, which monitors political spending, was better positioned to investigate these groups.

“Thanks to the political ad archive, we now know what ads these groups are running, but we still don’t know where the money is coming from,” Mr. Fischer of the Campaign Legal Center said. “That’s a very important consideration. Voters might view these messages differently if they knew who was funding them.”

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